Advance your leadership skills and boost your resume while building connections with executive leaders and other students.

The Women’s Leadership Initiative ASCEND certificate program provides insightful and engaging topics that will boost your resume while creating invaluable opportunities for networking with professional women and other UD students. ASCEND is open to all UD undergraduate students who identify as female.

See the Upcoming Sessions section below for details about our next ASCEND program.

Bonita E. Penn, Lead Facilitator, ASCEND

Bonita E. Penn was born and raised in Delaware. Refusing to be defeated by the challenges of life or being a single mother, she pursued degrees from Delaware State University and obtained dual science-based bachelors’ degrees in nursing and psychology. While working as a registered nurse, Bonita went on to earn a masters of science in nursing from Wilmington University and is currently a family nurse practitioner.

Ms. Penn currently serves on the Advisory Board for Women’s Leadership Initiative and served on the Board of Directors for Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation (FSSF) for 6 years. Bonita completed two intense leadership programs; Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) and Leadership Delaware (LDI), which allowed her to grow, perfect and hone in on her skills as a leader.

In 2016, Bonita was honored with the Achievement Award from FSSF for academic excellence and for her professional career development. In addition to utilizing her nursing skills here at home, Ms. Penn has expanded her positive impact globally by volunteering on two medical mission trips in Kenya, Africa. She mentors women, encouraging them to overcome life’s adversities and to complete their college education. She is dedicated to helping other women unleash their full potential. Bonita is passionate about God, philanthropy for those less fortunate and helping others learn about financial stability. As a devoted mother, Bonita loves spending time with her son and traveling the world with him.

Upcoming Sessions


For more information, please contact:

Michele Marsilii
Program Assistant – Women’s Leadership Initiative